Delaware News

Delaware City Council

Upgrades could let residents 'attend' meetings from home

Council mulls equipment to allow streams of gatherings

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Residents looking to keep an eye on the business of the city of Delaware may not have to leave their homes in the near future.

City officials are considering a number of technological upgrades to City Hall, including the addition of webcams in City Council chambers.

Scott Stowers, Delaware's information technology director, proposed at council's meeting Monday, April 14, that the city buy two webcams and a computer for editing video from public meetings. Anyone could watch a live stream of meetings over the Internet via Google's Hangouts service or view old meetings on YouTube.

Stowers estimated the combined cost of the webcams and computer at $1,600.

"That makes it very easy and very inexpensive to start exploring these types of possibilities," Stowers said.

Stowers also suggested the city buy 14 new microphones for council chambers to improve the quality of recordings of public meetings. The cost of that upgrade was estimated to be about $3,500.

He said the city could approach technological upgrades to chambers and the city manager's conference room in a piecemeal fashion.

Council also will consider plans to upgrade video-display capabilities in council chambers and the conference room.

Council chambers currently has a 65-inch flat-screen television and a projection screen used for visual presentations. Stowers said the existing projection screen is frayed and dirty.

"Our existing screen has certainly given its all to the city," he said.

Stowers said the city could replace both of the displays with 90-inch flat-screen televisions at a total cost of about $16,000. He said the current television could be moved into the hallway to show meetings when overflow seating was necessary.

As for the city manager's conference room, Stowers said an upgrade was in order. "There's nothing there at all for electronic presentations," he said.

Delaware Mayor Carolyn Riggle said she thought she saw a solution. Instead of moving the 65-inch television currently in chambers to the hallway, she suggested the city move it to the city manager's conference room.

A proposal from the IT department suggested the city buy a new 70-inch television for the city manager's conference room at an estimated cost of $2,000.

In all, Stowers estimated the costs of the potential upgrades at $22,000 after adding in equipment needed for installation and use of the new cameras, microphones and televisions.

Council took no action on the plan at the meeting.

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